the course was toward Bull's Bay
, one of the ports supposed desirable to occupy as a coaling and supply station.
At 9 P. M. the Wabash
tacked ship and headed southwest, the wind having changed some two points.
It was apparent, then, to the commanders of such vessels as had not opened their instructions, that Bull
's Bay was not the objective point, but that it was probably Port Royal
, having a more central position, and was well known to be the best harbor for vessels of heavy draught along the whole coast.
On the forenoon of the 3d, the flag-ship made signal for the commanding officer
of the Seneca
to come on board.
A letter for Captain J. L. Lardner
, commanding the steam frigate Susquehanna
, off Charleston
, was given him, as also verbal instructions that the vessels designated would not leave the blockade of the harbor until nightfall; they were then to proceed to the entrance of Port Royal
, where the vessels of the fleet were concentrating, and where Flag-Officer Dupont
would be found.
The Seneca proceeded on her way to Charleston Bar, some thirty miles distant. No sooner had she been sighted from Fort Sumter
, than a signal gun was fired, and repeated farther in, probably to announce the arrival of the fleet of which this vessel was the avant courier
. Immediately after the capture of Port Royal
it was well known that the Confederates
had been correctly informed as to the destination, although it was only determined a few days before, and was supposed to be a profound secret.1